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linkeellis (@linkeellis)

Hearing loss: How do you identify yourself to others?

Hearing Loss | Last Active: May 11, 2019 | Replies (77)

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Hello. I am profoundly deaf in my right ear, have a high frequency loss in my left. My family history is my maternal grandparents were both born hearing and lost their hearing as children (ages 3 an 7) due to illness/high fevers. My mother and her three siblings all had normal hearing throughout life. They all communicated with my grandparents by sign (Amslam). I was born with normal hearing but also lost what I have to high fevers as an infant. All four of my siblings have normal hearing. I always heard well enough that no need for sign language growing up. It is a sensory neural loss so an aid in my right ear would be of little value to me.
With me, I compensate really well and most people I interact with do not recognize I have hearing loss. I do struggle with group conversations where there is much ambient noise such as a restaurant. I lip read extremely well (perfected it tending bar in college). In business, it typically not an issue as even group meetings are normally devoid of much ambient noise so voices are clear. Conference calls are a different matter but that can be a painful experience regardless of your hearing ability.
In social group settings in loud places, I tend to focus on individual conversations and ignore the rest. My friends and family all know this but it does cause occasional frustration when I miss out on things but c’est la vie.
In business, I simply tell people sitting on my right that I am deaf in my right ear should I not respond if they are talking to me. Never an issue.
My wife and daughter are both SLPs and my daughter working in total communication as well as auditory/verbal therapy with a focus on cochlear implant recipients. Leads to occasional interesting conversations.
Bottom line, I guess I don’t truly “Identify” in respect to my hearing loss but manage situatinos depending on the setting.

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Replies to "Hello. I am profoundly deaf in my right ear, have a high frequency loss in my..."

@airotto370 – many people compensate and forget to let people know when they need an assist i.e. conference calls and loud places. Do you just deal with it or do you say: "I have a hearing loss\deaf\hard of hearing could you please repeat that or whatever to make sure you are communicating properly? Is it okay to be left out?

You have a great attitude towards your hearing loss and learning to cope with everyday situations. Depending on the situation, I also respond or act in different ways. I started losing high frequencies in late 30s and had a slow, gradual decline over the years to the point that now I wear 2 BTEs and am essentially “deaf” without the aids.
What works best for me is telling people that “I read lips, I need to look at you to hear”. This seems to get their attention rather than saying I’m “hearing impaired” which is a term I always hated.

The best tip I ever got was to repeat to someone talking to you what you heard rather than have them say the whole thing over again. For example, someone says we are going to the gobbledygook restaurant for lunch. You heard everything but the name of the restaurant so you would say to them…what restaurant are we going to? Another thing I do is, if I have a Doctors appointment and I know the waiting room is large, I give the desk a small sign to clip on to the chart that says “Please note..Patient has hearing loss…May not hear name called,” I have a sign on my car visor that says I am hearing impaired…local police gave them out years ago. I use a captioned landline and Innocaption on my cell so I can hear and read at the same time.

As you said, group gatherings or noisey places like restaurants will always be difficult. I use a listening app on my cell phone that’s helpful. We are all fatigued at days end from trying to understand so it’s good to take breaks from large groups and it’s okay to bow out of certain social functions because you know it won’t be enjoyable. And there are good hearing days and bad hearing days.

Hearing loss can be isolating so it is important to put yourself out there and try different things and situations and aways have a smile and good humor approach to people. Make them comfortable but let them know how to accommodate you. I always advocate for myself…practice over many years….and take each day to day situation as it comes. Sometimes I bluff in those very brief encounters like in a supermarket line. Today’s technology has come so far in the 40 years I have been wearing hearing aids so there is no excuse for shutting yourself away. Your hearing loss is not your fault or anyone else’s and there is no reason to hide it.
I see I am on my soapbox again so I will close and wish you all a good hearing day.

Regards from ImAllEars